Seniors’ centre asks town for maximum funding

More please: Group asks council to increase funding from $5,000 annually to $6,500

The Town of Lake Cowichan will consider pumping more money into the Cowichan Lake Seniors Centre.

In a letter presented by Chief Administrative Officer Joseph A. Fernandez at last Tuesday’s town finance and administration committee meeting, the seniors’ centre requested council add an extra $1,500 on top of the $5,000 it currently provides.

“The seniors are looking for the town to pay its full amount as Areas F and I have already done so,” said Coun. Frank Hornbrook, the former manager of the Cowichan Lake and District Seniors Association.

Under a Cowichan Valley Regional District bylaw, the town can pay up to $6,500 to the Seniors’ Centre, while Area F (Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls) and Area I (Youbou) also provide funding.

The letter states: “The two area directors are unwilling to amend the grant-in-aid bylaw pertaining to the Seniors’ Centre as they are jointly now providing their maximum of $11,000 based on the converted value of land improvements in their areas. The basis of their argument is the town has room to contribute an additional $1,500 as it is currently providing $5,000.”

Hornbrook is clearly all for the Seniors’ Centre receiving more money.

“The Kaatza Museum is in a very fortunate position whereby the town pays its issuance, heating and hydro costs. The Seniors’ Centre has to all of that itself and I just think it’s disproportionate,” he said. “The museum only gets around 2,000 visitors per year and the Senior Centre gets about 11,000.”

The Town combined with Areas F and I currently provide a total of $30,000 in funding to the museum via a CVRD grant-in-aid allocation.

Councillor Tim McGonigle, who chaired the meeting, was on board.

“It’s not like we’re moving forward with an increase, we’re just bringing it up to the maximum level in the bylaw,” he said.

The letter also explains that back “in 2006, the Town, for reasons not clear at this time, requested an increase of its maximum contribution for the Seniors’ Centre to $6,500 but continued to steadfastly maintain its annual contribution to the Seniors’ Centre at the $5,000 level.”

Hornbrook as a result made a motion that the topic be brought forward for further discussion at future financial meetings and budget talks.

With Councillor Jayne Ingram absent, Councillors Bob Day and McGonigle voted in favour of the motion alongside Hornbrook, with only Mayor Ross Forrest against.